Contemporary Gold Thangka: 1000-Armed Avalokitesvara
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All Items: Popular Collectibles: Cultural: Contemporary: item # 551956
Please refer to our stock # 20536p when inquiring.
Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938
Avalokitesvara the Bodhisattva of Compassion can be portrayed in several different forms. One extremely popular
form with eleven heads and multiple arms. Here he is portrayed in his thousand-armed form. Eight of the arms are clearly
shown, all but one holding a ritual object, with the remaining one pointing to the ground. The other nine hundred
ninety-four arms are suggested by the circle which surrounds him. The multiple heads and arms signify his overwhelming compassion and awareness and his ability to see into whatever realm is required to free beings from their ignorance and
suffering. The tenth head represents a wrathful form and the eleventh head is that of Amitabha. Here he is shown standing on a lotus-wreathed throne surrounded by attendants.
This thangka is unmounted and suitable for framing. Including the border it measures 15" by 22". It is part of a series of meticulously rendered thangkas painted largely in 24-caret gold paint with additional muted colors. The gold has been burnished until it shines, producing a striking effect when the thangka is view first hand.
As our name implies, Himalayan Antiques specializes in dealing in antiques from the region, but in the course of our annual buying trips we have become friendly with one of the leading dealers in Kathmandu of new thangka paintings. This family employs a number of the most skillful artists in the field, and we always purchase several new thangkas just to meet the needs of customers.
This year we looked over hundreds of thangkas to make our selection of just a few dozen. The range of qualities is extensive. The best thangka painters work almost exclusively on consignment and the are often booked years in advance. The least talented painters churn out large numbers of small and simple thangkas to be sold to tourists for a few dollars each. In between these extremes is a wide range of qualities and levels of artistry. Better artists are usually given larger canvases with more detailed and complex designs and are allowed more of the costly 24k gold to work with. It is testimony to the skill of the artist who painted these thangkas that he was allowed to use gold paint throughout.
Note: With great reluctance we entered this thangka in the "Chinese" subcategory of Popular Collectibles since there is no subcategory for either Tibetan or Himalayan items.